Is this your first time #WFH (working from home) for an extended period of time?
I’ve been working remotely for the past 5+ years, spending a lot time behind my laptop in gyms, coffee shops, and my kitchen table, so this part of quarantine life actually isn’t really anything new or too different for me. I’ve always been asked “Do you like working from home?” and “How do you work from home and still be productive?”. I love working from home (most of the time), the flexibility it allows is amazing and I don’t miss going up and down i270 during both rush hours every day AT ALL. With that said, it comes with its own set of challenges, and I don’t think it’s for every body. Unfortunately not every body has a choice right now, so how do you adapt to working from home and stay productive? Here’s 3 tips that have helped me that all tie into health & fitness (I do work for a gym):
1) Create A New Set of Rituals – Whether intentionally or unintentionally, you probably had a set of rituals that you did to prepare for work each day pre-quarantine. You need to define or re-define what those are while you are working from home. Being at work is now a state of mind, not a statement of where you are. So creating a set of rituals to get you into that state of mind is going to be incredibly important. Pre-quarantine, going to the gym first thing in the morning was step 1 for me. Fitness is still step 1 for me now, it just looks a bit different – now it’s pulling up a workout I can do in my living room on the Club Fitness At Home Virtual Studio or jumping on my bike to get my heart rate up and my brain loaded up with endorphins, fuels me for the next several hours and sets the tone for the day. Fitness is a great step 1, even if you are working from home. The next steps are really up to. Maybe it’s still having that cup of coffee, but now without the commute, you get to enjoy it while looking out your kitchen window. Maybe it’s still saying good morning to your team, but now through Slack or Zoom. Whatever those rituals are, they should be intentionally done every day in order to consistently put yourself in a state of mind that says “This is work time”.
2) Movement Breaks – If you’ve been in any HR led health and wellness meeting in the past 10 years, you’ve been told about the importance of standing up from your desk every X amount of hours for Y amount of minutes (seems to change every year). All jokes aside, that is an important recommendation if you are normally sitting while at work, and definitely still applies as you’re working from home. Just finish a big task for the day, or hit send on that email you spent the last hour working on? Stand up and walk around. Take the dog out. Get some vitamin. This let’s your blood fully circulate, your eyes take a break from your computer screen, and a good chance to lengthen and straighten your spine. On that note – Pro tip 2b) choose the chair you work in while at home wisely, those wooden barstools weren’t meant to be sat in for 40 hours a week.
3) Designate Your Work Area – This one is all about mental health. Going back to tip #1, when you work from home, work is state of mind not a statement of where you are. It’s important, however, to set boundaries in your house for where work “is” and where home/the rest of your life “is”. Whenever you are in that spot in the house, whether it’s a specific room or just a specific chair (see pro tip 2b), that needs to be your work spot. When you are in that spot, you are at work. When you are not in that spot, you are at home. When you close the laptop and leave that spot for the day, don’t go back to it (if you can) until its time to work again. As I tend to be someone who leans towards being a workaholic, these boundaries are essential for being able to enter and exit work mode when working from home. While everyone’s job requirements are different, being stuck in “on” all the time 24/7 is not mentally healthy or sustainable.
Stay healthy. Stay safe. Press On.